Attending a conference can end up costing a lot of money. To calculate the total cost, you have to consider not only the hotel costs and the registration fee, but also the time you invested attending the conference, as well as preparing for it. And that’s without counting the booths, the promotional material and the advertising. In short, it is a major investment that could all be for naught if you don’t take the following actions as soon as the conference is over.
1 – Scan your business cards
After returning from a conference, you’ll probably have your pockets full of business cards; you’ll have them in your luggage, in your pockets and maybe even in your wallet. It is important to scan these cards as soon as possible, to avoid losing them and to remember who was relevant to your business growth, and why.
There are many apps that can take photos of business cards and transfer the information into your contacts, such as ABBY Business Card Reader or CamCard. On the other hand, although these apps can save you time, they are not absolutely necessary. What is important is to invite every person whose business card you have on LinkedIn and add them into your CRM. Once all the info is transferred, you can throw all those cards away.
2 – Take notes while your memory is still fresh
During a conference, you’ll meet lots of interesting people and ideas spread at the speed of light. You’ll be overflowing with ideas and want to pursue many actions after the conference. The problem is that if you forget to note all these ideas, your risk forgetting the lion’s share of them once you get back to the office. So take a few seconds to sit down and put anything that caught your attention during the conference into writing, either in a note-taking software or in a traditional notebook.
3 – Update your CRM
During a conference, you don’t just meet new people. You’ll come across many business acquaintances and you’ll get to know them a little better, although often very briefly. It helps you to reconnect with these acquaintances, but the danger is forgetting the interaction, which could cause awkwardness during your next call. So be sure to enter all the leads you have met for the first time into your CRM, but above all, enter the details of your conversations with all the acquaintances with whom you have interacted. She had a promotion; so-and-so is on paternity leave, and so on.
4 – Thank everyone on LinkedIn
At a conference, you’ll meet a lot of people with whom you don’t do a lot of business with, but who are part of your professional network, and who can be useful. Sending a pointless email to these contacts to let them know that you were happy to have crossed paths might seem strange. On the other hand, taking the time to write a short text about the conference, and tagging the people you met is a good practice, and it will help you shine within your network without having to send pointless emails.
5 – Follow up
If you only have to remember one of the five things presented here, it should be this one. After a conference, you’ll generally be tired and, if things went well, you’ll feel like a hunter who has just killed a big game. The problem is that you may have identified some great opportunities and met some very promising leads, but you may forget them if you don’t follow up quickly enough. As of the next business day, be sure to write follow-up emails with a clear next step, such as making a phone appointment, evaluating a service proposal, etc.